....................... ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park's New Native Fish Conservation Plan - My Comments The Park is currently seeking comments on the new native fish conservation plan and although I have zero confidence that what I have to say will be used by the park employees at all, and I wish to highlight they are all "employees" all the way up to the highest level, I will be happy to provide my input for the thousands of readers of this website as well as my three other fly fishing websites with interested readers.
General: I have two general views. First of all, what I have to say isn't intended in any way to adversely affect the many related fly fishing businesses (fly shops, guides, outfitters, and other non-directly related business like stores, motels, etc.) that are in the local areas around the park's perimeter; however, their opinions and input are no more important than any other citizen of the U.S., that has an interest in the subject of native fish conservation. The plan's affect on these businesses shouldn't be a factor in making any decisions on anything. Secondly, expansion of any government project that involves any expense of tax payer dollars should be reviewed with utmost care even though this would be a drop in the bucket to most others government projects. The United States of America is currently broke.
That's not meant as a joke or to scare anyone. It's a fact. The national debt (money borrowed and spend we didn't have) is huge. It's so huge, it's already threatening the security of this country. It's to the point that it will take our children and grandchildren years to pay it if it's even possible to do so. Most of the money is owed to China. The interest alone on the money we owe now is $800 billion dollars a year. We have around 300,000 million citizens most of which don't pay any tax. You figure it out.
Any expense of tax payers money over and above what is absolutely necessary shouldn't get to first base. Whatever funds the new native fish conservation plan will require, as small as it is in comparison to other government projects many if not most of which are pure waste, should be funded by an increase in income not currently available. This plan shouldn't increase the National Park's budget a cent without they can offset the expense with income. They should be aware that If the highly paid employees (more than the private sector) increase the national debt a cent, the park may one day be closed and those high salaries and benefits may be a thing of the past. It's already happening to states and don't think for a second it couldn't happen to the national parks.
Many elements of this plan will cost money. Where is it coming from.? That's my first question. There are many ways to come up with it other than the normal way.
Now to the Fish Conservation Plan: 1. I give credit to David Knapp (the Trout Zone) for bringing something to my attention that may otherwise have overlooked. This plan is entitled "Native Fish Conservation Plan", yet it includes trying to establish native trout in streams that have never had any native trout. That's border lining pure stupidity. How can you conserve something that never existed. The Gibbon River plan as proposed should be dropped and the people that come up with the plan should reexamine the basic purpose and objectives of the plan.
2. I question the overall effectiveness of poisoning and reestablishing native fish in general. I think there's great danger in the fish becoming reestablished by nature or man (especially disgruntled fishing guides and anglers) in these streams that are taken away from the angler for a long period of time. I don't see how it is possible to enforce the laws that are supposed to prevent it. As sad as it is, the efforts of many concerned anglers that raised lots of money, as well as the Smoky Mountain National Park officials, failed to get rid of all the rainbows, or probably suffered a bucket re-stocking plan of criminals with the native brook trout plan for Lynn Camp Creek. Hopefully they came up with a way to catch or kill all the rainbows that they found in the newly replanted creek, but as of now, that probably cannot be positively confirmed..
3. I also question the overall effects of poisoning with regards to many other environmental potential or possible adversities that the park employees have yet to discover. It's almost an everyday thing that scientist are coming up with contradictory finding for what at one time was considered scientific fact. It happens with medicines we take the food we eat. It happened with dams we built that were thought to be the thing to do years ago, yet are now being torn down. Who is to say it won't happen with the park's efforts to further mess with nature. According to the park employees themselves, the problem they are planning to fix happened because of the original stocking of non-native fish in the park by guess who - the park. I mean, after all they are in the same category of people that put the brown and rainbow trout in the streams of Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks to begin with. At the time, that was thought to be the thing to do and in fact, it may well have been. Some guides are saying, why replace fish that already provides sport with different species. While I don't agree with that wholeheartedly, I see their point from strictly a fishing standpoint.
4. Insofar as the "catch and kill" regulations, I think they have little or no effect. I have yet to see anyone kill or keep one fish in the existing areas under this rule. I believe most anglers simply are not going to do it in spite of the park's rules. I also am quite sure this would be worthless in larger rivers like the Gardner and Yellowstone River below the respective falls in each river. How do you keep rainbows from coming into the river from the Yellowstone River outside the park, which could infiltrate the Gardner also? Even if everyone complied, there would be far less trout killed than those reproduced. The "catch and kill" of brown trout and well as rainbows in these two streams is also a worthless effort. Furthermore, doing so is destroying a viable fishery for visiting sportsman.
5. The tributaries to Yellowstone Lake and Yellowstone River (above Upper Falls), probably all need closed to fishing. I doubt there are any that some cutthroats don't spawn in. The upper river should stay as is insofar as the opening and closing dates as far as I can determine. I see evidence of little harm to the fishery in the upper river below the lake by anglers.
6. Although the problem of cutthroat/rainbow hybridization may be increasing to the point it is a huge problem soon, the number one, big problem is Yellowstone Lake. This is also my big problem with the park's ability to do anything about the whole mess. So far, they have only been able to slow down the increase in the lake trout as far as I can determine by looking at their own reports. I think all efforts should be directed towards reducing the lake trout population. That would solve most of the entire park's problem. It would also allow other waters to possibly be available to fish one day. I mean, is the next thing killing all the rainbow and brown trout in the Madison and restocking grayling?
I don't see Yellowstone Lake as a impossible or an effort that could be a total failed attempt. I doubt it will ever be rid of lake trout, but it can be controlled to the point it is ineffective in reducing the population of cutts. It's already proven to be effective in reducing the population of lake trout and it appears that all it needs is a much larger effort, meaning mostly - funding. This is something not only threatening the existence of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout in it's once stronghold area, it's interfering with the great fishing that once existed in the upper Yellowstone River and all the tributaries as well as the main food source of many animals and birds. If the park has been unable to do something about this (more than the meager effort that has taken place), how in hell is it going to solve many other problems. Instead of waisting money planning for years and creating more government jobs for the overall restoration plan, why not do something now. Yes, I know a long term plan is needed, but that's where all the effort seems to be going while the problem with the native fish grows every day. Right now put the fire out.